Critter of the Month: Camptosaurus

Meet Copper & Daisy. These gentle giants are always happy to meet new friends.  They love being part of the group.


Daisy opened her beak and let her tongue hang lose in a gaping yawn that stretched all the way down her spine. She shook her head, and her scaly skin rippled as she shook the yawn down to the tip of her long, rigid tail.

Satisfied with her shake down, she lowered her head and nosed the conifer needles and knotted roots along the ground. She shuffled the foliage to one side with her hands- scraping at the dirt with the claw that was her thumb, grasping twigs with two strong middle fingers, brushing needles and dried ferns into a pile with the stubby and clawless end digits…She patted the patch of ground one last time, and eased her body down front end first, like a cow. She sighed and, after taking one last look to make sure her herd-mates were shuffling nearby, closed her eyes, neck arched comfortably over her shoulders.

A deep, short, croaking noise by her head made Daisy open her yellow eyes, and she stared at the disturbance.

He was standing over her, his deep red throat bloated and vibrating with each croak. In his beaked lips he held a conifer branch, the tender kind with soft, scaly needles all along the branch, and he brushed this down Daisy’s neck and flank. Daisy just closed her eyes. She didn’t want anything to do with this nonsense, but Copper softened his croak to a coo, dropped the branch at her feet, and tapped his beaked nose against her dappled green side.

Daisy tossed her head and grunted a quiet warning, and Copper backed away with his head low. He looked sideways at her, silent, and Daisy arched her neck and closed her eyes. She heard shuffling, heavy steps, and she allowed her mind to wander as she relaxed into her patch of dirt and ferns. The sun felt warm and soothing on her green, pebbly scales, and she breathed in the tang of sap and spice of crushed cycad fruit.

Shuffling steps moved closer. Thud, thud, thud…and the rustling of dried needles and ferns. A warm weight settled beside her, dry and pebbly as she, and she opened one eye. Copper lay next to her, his back against her brown belly, and his three-toed feet stretched out like a giant bird laying on its side. If he noticed she was looking at him he didn’t show it, because he kept his eyes closed and yellow neck arched like he was sleeping.

Daisy draped her head across Copper’s shoulders and shifted her weight against him, closing her eyes as his rhythmic breathing mingled with the ever-present shuffling of feet in the undergrowth.



In case you’re wondering what Copper’s “love song” sounds like… 😀



Making progress…

I’ve been delightfully busy this month!

Baby Girl is sitting up, taste-testing food, and crawling down the hallways now, so she’s a little bundle of excitement around here. A solid night’s sleep is still pretty rare, but nap times are a little more predictable, and even if she’s awake she is easily entertained. So some days she “helps” me with my artwork. 😀

Here are a few things she’s been offering her raspberry critique on…

Ammonite love pattern_natural_redbubble.png



So now that this “quick” project is done and in my redbubble shop, here are a few things I’ve learned…

  • Never underestimate a particular art form because it looks “simple”.
  • “Fast and easy” art, like patterns or simple designs for t-shirts, are much more complex than you’d think. Nothing is “fast and easy” if it’s the first time you’ve ever done it.
  • Time taken for a “fast and easy” side project is mostly procrastination and time taken away from the larger project. However…
  • “small” projects can provide some mental space and rest from a much larger project


Working on Dippy’s updated image also taught me a few things. Especially…

  • Don’t procrastinate, just start!
  • Sometimes we struggle on something we thought should be simple, and that’s ok. Sometimes we just need to see it from a different angle.
  • Don’t waste time making a reference model perfect, or even 80% accurate. Good enough is good enough. 🙂

Now that I’ve finished this little ammonite pattern and a few critter updates, I am ready to jump back into the picture book again with fresh energy. 😀 Dippy’s reference model taught me that a reference model doesn’t need to look good to do what you need it to, so I will apply that lesson to finishing Steggy’s habitat. 😀

Hopefully I can make some real progress there over the next month! In the meantime, I hope you like Copper and Daisy’s quiet little adventure. 🙂


Coming Sept 1st…

This little dino is a bit shy, but she’ll come out of the bushes for a sweet hug and a small treat. 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! She’s one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Camptosaurus

  1. Woohoo! Congrats on getting those Redbubble projects done. 😀 I like how they turned out! Though just the shapes of the ammonites themselves are interesting, I really like the different markings you came up with–the colors go together nicely. 🙂 The alternate pattern is cute, too; it has a delightfully doodly feel to it. Are you going to add the alternate pattern to Redbubble as well? If so, the next time I need a new pair of pajamas I think I’d definitely get some with that pattern. 😛

    And the “squiddy cinnamon roll!” I really like how it turned out. 😀 The plate frames the ammonite nicely and really ties the whole thing together, while also adding a nice color contrast. The text and banner (which kind of reminds me of a napkin too, heh) adds a lot of character as well. 🙂 I noticed that you made the ammonite’s lines thicker and changed the markings a bit, which is a nice detail.

    Then there’s also Copper and Daisy; it’s nice to see a story focused on a herbivore that, for a change, is not being chased down by some rampaging dino. 😛 I also really like how you manage to describe things in a very relatable way while not using too many unnecessary words and adjectives. One sentence that especially caught my interest in this way was “her scaly skin rippled as she shook the yawn down to the tip of her long, rigid tail.” Though it’s brief, it really captures the feeling. 🙂


    1. Hi Brownie, it’s great to see you here!

      Thank you very much! I’m not 100% happy with the pattern, but is an artist ever satisfied with their own work? In any case, it was a fun learning process. 😀 I know some artists who update their patterns or designs as they gain more skill…I think I’ll do that eventually, but I’m happy with it for a first-time design project. I have an idea for a striped shirt inspired by sedimentary rock layers. It “should” be quick, but I’ll let it marinate some more while I get some progress on the picture book done first. 😀

      The alternate pattern is not quite done (not much chance to get to the computer lately), but I think I’ll go ahead and upload it. I have another alternate pattern idea with a white background instead of blue too, with blue or brown watercolory base colors for the ammonites. 🙂 I’ll see how much I like it before sharing it.

      Hehe, I like Copper and Daisy as characters. Probably because they interact with each other…it makes things interesting. I actually saw a horse do that sort of yawn stretch. It’s funny how they let their tongues hang out. 😀 And now I have to get to work on Rosie’s little story. I’ve been envisioning it mentally, but haven’t sat down to write it yet. I find I write faster and more smoothly if I “see” it in my mind’s eye first. 🙂

      Thank you again for stopping by and providing such great feedback! It really means a lot to me. 🙂


  2. Awwww,Copper and Daisy are so cute! If only there was a pet i could have like them! And excited for the new progress for the book itself! Plus your Redbubble stuff looks amazing! If only shipping here in our country isnt as expensive as buying a whole Tyrannosaurus skeleton 😂

    COTM is Rosie!!!


    1. Hi Kaprosaurus, it’s good to see you here! 😀

      Thank you! I really like Copper and Daisy too. They are adorable big bird/lizard/cows 😀

      I’m glad you like the patterns! I think it’s pretty exciting that there are places like Redbubble that make it easy to create things like that.

      I’m excited to get back on track with the book. I love Jurassic critters, but I want to explore other time periods too! Hopefully with the lessons I learned and the increased skill I can finish it sooner than 2 years! 😛

      I will take the occasional break to add new critters to the shop, or clean up existing critters for Redbubble, but it’s full steam ahead with the picture book for now. 😀

      And yes, I’ll be coaxing Rosie out to play next month. 🙂


    1. Hi David, thank you for stopping by! If you mean the critter we’ll be seeing next month, you are right! It might take a few extra treats, but little Rosie will be making an appearance in September. 🙂


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